Exclusive: Jason Blum Talks Blumhouse of Horrors, Insidious 2, Paranormal Activity 5 and More! - Dread Central
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Exclusive: Jason Blum Talks Blumhouse of Horrors, Insidious 2, Paranormal Activity 5 and More!

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Even though he may not be a name you immediately recognize, producer Jason Blum is well on his way to becoming one of the more prolific producers of modern genre fare and for very good reason – he knows what it takes to get under people’s skin and scare the crap out of them.

Over the last few years, Blum has produced under his Blumhouse shingle the entire Paranormal Activity series, Insidious, The FP, Lawless and Sinister as well as the upcoming genre projects The Lords of Salem, The Bay, Area 51 and potentially Insidious 2 once that project gets under way.

Not content with just scaring audiences in movie theaters, Blum recently embarked on an all-new haunted attraction in Downtown Los Angeles – the Blumhouse of Horrors – which takes victims through a haunted theater set in the 1930’s, bearing witness to a murder mystery and a love triangle gone horribly wrong.

After recently checking out Blumhouse of Horrors (definitely worth your time if you’re in the Los Angeles area!), Dread Central hopped on the phone with Blum to discuss his latest horror-infused endeavor as well as heard his thoughts on Blumhouse’s successes over the years. Blum also discussed the upcoming sequel Paranormal Activity 4, the recently released Sinister and what the status of Insidious 2 is.

Check out our exclusive interview with Blum below!

Dread Central: So what inspired you to get into the haunt business then?

Jason Blum: Well, we’ve shot almost all of our movies in the Los Angeles area and we use the same crews over and over again; a bunch of us had been talking about how much fun it would be to do a haunted house and once we found our location, that’s when things really got going for us.

I have always wanted to do a haunted house that told a real story and wasn’t just a bunch of jump scares either; I had done three years of theatre-producing in New York so I would say that Blumhouse of Horrors has more of a theatrical aspect to it than say, a movie does. I found some inspiration in the Sleep No More show in New York and once we saw just how cool the building was, we used that to inspire our twisted little story.

Dread Central: Did you have actual story writers for Blumhouse of Horrors then or did you write the story?

Jason Blum: Blumhouse of Horrors has been an entirely collaborative experience for me- we have about 100 people invested in this so this is a labor of love for a lot of people. I had some input into the story, definitely, but I was one of many voices; Tom and Jenn Spence (production designers) were definitely two of the major driving forces behind this whole project and the story.

Dread Central: Do you find that scaring people in a live event-type of setting is similar to what you do in movies or is it an entirely new world of scares?

Jason Blum: You know, I think there are a lot of differences and similarities but as a whole, I just love seeing people physically react to things- whether in a movie theater or inside this theater. There are similarities to both approaches because for both, you want to take your audiences’ attention one way so you can get the scare to come from somewhere else. The hardest part is doing it live is that if you mess it up, you can’t do it again. I would say that’s a huge challenge, to get it right and get it right every time for so that everyone takes away a great experience from coming to Blumhouse of Horrors.

Dread Central: Switching over to movies- under Blumhouse you’ve managed to create some incredible original horror films over the last few years and you’ve got a pretty strong slate coming up as well. To you, is there a secret to getting a good modern horror film right?

Jason Blum: To be honest with you, it’s not a complicated formula at all. What works for us is that we do movies really inexpensively, which is a lesson I learned from doing Paranormal Activity. That way, if the movies work, everyone who works on them profits from it and if they don’t, everyone doesn’t but we don’t lose big either.

So when you are making movies inexpensively like we do, you can take risks that you can’t take with a horror movie that costs $20 or $30 million. That’s what we did with James Wan and Insidious, that’s what we did with Sinister and the more we keep making these kind of movies, the more I feel like keeping costs down is the core of keeping the business side of things successful. Plus, we’re filmmaker driven- I’ve always given our directors freedom to tell the stories they want to tell.

Story is always going to come first with us; other people working in the genre like to focus more on the scares than an actual story but I’ve always felt that if you’re emotionally involved in the characters and their struggles, that makes a movie all the more scary for viewers because when you’re emotionally invested, that makes the scares all the more scary. That’s why Sinister works; Ethan’s performance is what keeps you invested in the story so when you’re watching him and we nail you with the scares, it’s really effective storytelling all around.

Dread Central: I know you guys have Paranormal Activity 4 coming up in a few weeks; do you guys have an ‘end game’ in mind or a strategy in regards to these stories at all? Have you begun thinking about part five at all yet or is it still too early?

Jason Blum: Oh yeah, it’s definitely too early to even start talking about Paranormal 5; I would say that it’s hard to make a good movie that you’re working on while thinking two movies past it so we don’t really have an ‘end game’ right now. I think that thinking about what hasn’t even happened yet can negatively affect the current movie you’re working on, so we try not to think about the next one. Of course there will be times where we are shooting scenes where we think, “Oh, that would be good for another one,” but there’s not a solid plan right now for multiple movies beyond the one coming out soon. We have to see how it goes with this one first.

Dread Central: And what’s the status of Insidious 2? Is that still in the scripting stages?

Jason Blum: You know, we’re in the same position we’ve been in for a while so there’s no real news yet. I know that we all want to do Insidious 2 and plan on doing it, but there are a lot of things that need to click before we can get started and we still need a lot more clicks before we can get started.

Blumhouse will offer special promotions, giveaways, and contests through Facebook and Twitter so be sure to keep your eyes on them.

The Blumhouse of Horrors has taken over the 88-year-old Variety Arts Theater building, located at 940 South Figueroa Street, between 9th and 10th Streets. Once known as “The Playhouse,” the building hosted performances by industry greats like Laurel & Hardy and Clark Gable and featured speeches by historical figures like Eleanor Roosevelt and Dorothy Parker. The event provides rare access for visitors to explore one of Los Angeles’ most historic and well-preserved cultural sites.

Visitor information:

  • The Blumhouse of Horrors will be open from 6 p.m. to midnight, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from October 4th through October 28th; and then Monday, October 29th, through Saturday, November 3rd.
  • Ticket options start at $29 and can be purchased at The Blumhouse of Horrors website.
  • The experience is appropriate for children ages 12 and up, and there will be select weekend daytime “lights on” experiences for younger children.

    Exclusive: Jason Blum Talks Blumhouse of Horrors, Insidious 2, Paranormal Activity 5 and More!

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    Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End Review: A Heavy Metal Massacre In Cartoon Form

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    Starring Alex House, Bill Turnbull, Maggie Castle, Melanie Leishman, Chris Leavins, Jason Mewes

    Directed by Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace


    “Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil” – Canadian television’s greatest blend of Evil Dead, Superbad and Deathgasm? Yes. That answer is yes. For two face-melting seasons, Todd “protected” Crowley High from episodic villains who were bested by metal riffs, stoner logic and hormonal companionship. Musical interruptions showcased stage theatrics like Sondheim meets pubescent Steel Panther and high school tropes manifested into vile, teen-hungry beasts. It was like a coming-of-age story got stuck between Fangoria pages – all the awkwardness with 100x more guts.

    That – for worse – was until Todd fell to a premature cancellation after Season 2’s clone-club cliffhanger. Indiegogo became the show’s only way to deliver a feature-length finale, except to reduce costs and ensure completion, the project would have to be in cartoon form. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End suggests an animated curtain call for this otherwise live-action production, and from a fan’s perspective, familiar maturation follies befall our favorite bloodsoaked friend group. But for new viewers? Start with the far-superior original show – you’ll be lost, underwhelmed and baffled otherwise.

    Alex House retains his characterization of Todd Smith (in voice only). At this point, Todd has thwarted the book’s apocalyptic plan, Hannah (Melanie Leishman) has died, longtime crush Jenny (Maggie Castle) isn’t as horny for Todd anymore, and best friend Curtis (Bill Turnbull) has sworn Todd’s name to Hell (since Hannah was his girlfriend). Guidance Counselor Atticus Murphy Jr. (Chris Leavins) is now Janitor Atticus Murphy Jr. because Janitor Jimmy (Jason Mewes) is now Counselor Jimmy, yet Crowley High finds itself plagued by the same satanic uprisings despite these new changes. Why is evil still thriving! How is Hannah back in class! Who is the new “Pure Evil One” now that Todd has denied the book! Welcome to the end, friends – or is it a new beginning?

    At just north of 80 minutes, structure runs a bit jagged. We’re used to Todd battling one baddie over a half-hour block – backstory given time to breathe – but in The End Of The End, two mini-boss cretins play second fifth-fiddle to the film’s big-bad monster (well, monsters – but you’ll see). A double-dose of high school killers followed by a larger, more important battle with the gang’s fate hanging in the balance. Not a problem, it’s just that more length is spent singing songs about Todd’s non-functioning schlong and salvaging relationships from the S2 finale. Exposition (what little there is) chews into necessary aggression time – fans left ravenous for more versatile carnage, underwhelmed by the umpteenth cartoon erection gag. Did I mention there’s a lot of boner material, yet?

    These two mini “chapters” – “No Vest For The Wicked” (yarn demon)/”Zits Alors” (acid acne) – never come close to rivaling Hannah Williams’ doppelganger bombshell (“Songs About Boners”/”This Is The End Of The End Of the End”). Hannah [X]. Williams waking up in a room full of other Hannahs, emerging from some sleep-pod chamber; Todd’s gang facing off against this new “chosen one” in a way that erases “Sack Boy” and “Pizza Face” from memory. The End Of The End dashes dildoes-swinging into the show’s biggest mystery while dropping call-backs and bodies with equal speed – maybe too hastily for some.

    Now, about the whole pivot to animation – a smooth rendering of Crowley High and all its mayhem, but never representative of Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil‘s very Ash Vs. Evil Dead vibe. All the practical death effects (gigantic man-eating cakes, zombie rockstars) are lost to one-dimensional drawings, notable chemistry between cast members replaced by edited recordings lacking signature wits. This isn’t Metalocalypse, where dismemberment and bloodshed are gruesome on levels that outshine even live-action horror flicks. There’s no denying some of the magic is missing without Chris Leavins’ “creepy uncle” overacting (a Will Forte breed) or the book’s living incarnations of evil. Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End plays hooded minion to Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil’s dark ruler – less powerful, a bit duncier, but still part of the coolest cult around. Just try not to think about how much radness is missing inside hand-traced Crowley High?

    It’s hard not to strike comparisons between “reality” and ‘toon, because as noted above, live actors are sorely missed in a plethora of situations. Be they musical numbers, heretic slayings, Todd and Curtis’ constant references to wanking, wangs or other pelvic nods (no, for real, like every other sentence) – human reactions no longer temper such aggressive, self-gratifying cocksmanship. It doesn’t help that songs never reach the memorable level of “Horny Like The Devil,” but the likes of House, Leishman, Turnbull and Castle were masters of selling schlock, shock and Satan’s asshole of situations. Instead, lines now land flat like – for example – Leavins’ lessened ability to turn pervy, stalkerish quips into hilarious underage stranger-dangers. Again, it’s not Metalocalypse – and without that kind of designer depth, a wall prevents inter-dimensional immersion into Todd’s extracurricular madness.

    If this review sounds over-negative, fret not – it’s merely wishes of what could have been. None of this is to say Todd And The Book Of Pure Evil: The End Of The End should be skipped. When you’re already known for masterstrokes of ballbusting immaturity, metal-horned malevolence and vicious teen-angst creature vanquishing, expectations are going to be sky high. Directors Richard Duhaney and Craig David Wallace successfully service fans with a smile, ensuring that rivers of red scribbled blood spurt from decapitated school children just like we’re used to. It’s just, I mean – ugh, sorry, I just have to say it one more time. BY DIMEBAG’S BEARD, this would have been an epic live-action flick. As is? Still one fine-with-a-capital-F-YEAH return to Crowley High for the faithful who’ve been waiting some 5-or-so years in a Todd-less purgatory.

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    Kevin Bacon Lets Us Know the Tremors Reboot Pilot Has Wrapped Filming

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    Two weeks ago we let you guys know that Tremors mainstay Michael Gross, aka Burt Gummer, was, unfortunately, not asked to be a part of the upcoming Syfy reboot series starring Kevin Bacon.

    While that news upsets us a bit, being that the series has only filmed its pilot episode, we feel that there is still a big chance we could see Burt return to kick some more Graboids in the tentacle-thingies with elephant guns.

    Fingers crossed.

    Speaking of the “Tremors Syfy pilot, recently star Kevin Bacon took to Instagram to let us all know that filming has wrapped!

    You can check out The Bacon’s post below and then make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are for Syfy’s “Tremors” series in the comments below!

    In the Tremors follow-up, written by Andrew Miller, the killer Graboid worms that nearly destroyed Perfection, NV, 25 years ago are back; and the town’s only hope for survival is Valentine McKee (Bacon), who beat them once. But to do it again he’ll have to overcome age, alcohol, and a delusional hero complex.

    “Tremors” the TV series is headed our way courtesy of Jason Blum’s Blumhouse TV and Universal Cable Prods.

    We’ll let you know when we hear more about the series!

    So long to NM. Had an amazing time shooting this pilot. Hope I can keep walking in these boots #Tremors

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    Exclusive: Buzzard Hollow Beef Brings Cannibal Gore to the Holidays

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    Holidays at the end of the year seem to be focused on one major aspect: food. From Christmas hams to Thanksgiving turkeys to Hanukkah latkes to who knows what else, eating is a very important part for end-of-the-year festivities. Personally, I’m totally okay with it because it means great food and TONS of leftovers, ensuring that I don’t have to concern myself with cooking for at least a couple of days.

    But what if the holiday season were a bit more sinister and what if the food was a bit more…unsavory? Allow us to introduce you to Buzzard Hollow Beef, a new vision of horror that blends cannibal hillbillies, intense and terrifying hallucinations, and small town mysteries. If this sounds up your alley, then don’t fret about waiting because the film comes to Amazon Prime, iTunes, and other transactional platforms on Tuesday, November 21!

    We’ve got a trailer, poster, and several stills for you to check out, so peruse at your will and enjoy!

    Directed by Joshua M. Johnson, who co-wrote the film with Tara C. Hall, Buzzard Hollow Beef stars Bruce Jennings, Nadia Kamil, Scott C. Brown, Emily Letts, Janet Chiarabaglio, Amanda Spinella, Will Frazier, Gabriel Caste, and Doug Perkins.

    Synopsis:
    Still reeling from her divorce and struggling as the single mother of a 9 month old, Jordan Vollmer looks forward to a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend with her family and her best friend, Paige. As the group ventures into the small town of Buzzard Hollow, they are greeted with strange and unsavory characters, known around these parts as the Solomon family. Their suspicions surrounding the Solomons are aroused by the fact that they all seem unwilling to talk about the beef that they serve in their hamburgers and sell in their butcher shop. When the Vollmers experience horrifying hallucinations, they begin to suspect that the Solomons are somehow involved.

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